Two holes, four houses

Once most of the townhouses had been constructed on the site of a former Catholic school, two pits appeared at the ends of the rows, one on each side of the street. Danica wondered what they were for.
My guess was to make basements for two houses, but I was wrong. Four houses! Two in each pit.
Such is Toronto the real estate market at the moment. Land anywhere near downtown is precious. Yards have been replaced with flowerpots so that living space can be maximized.
Personally, I favour this development. Denser housing is better than urban sprawl. More people can enjoy the big city and work in it, with less time wasted on long, slow commutes. Denser populations also mean more potential customers for small, local businesses. There are a lot of plusses, and we can still have human-scale, tree-lined streets, without jammng everybody into high rises. Granted, these not-yet-finished townhouses look rather bleak at the moment, but that will soften when new maples grow in a bit.

Not a bad day for walking

A little bit of drizzle but mild. We are getting a West Coast winter so far. Today’s walk took me into the Kew Gardens Park where I looked up to Queen Street East from the shelter of the bandstand.
The park also holds a nice little fountain, erected in 1920 by public subscription to honour a good guy doctor who had died treating patients in the great flu epidemic a couple of years earlier. Dr. William D. Young provided healthcare, especially to local children, long before medicare.
The centrepiece of the fountain is a nicely sculpted bronze of a little boy. The sculpture, by Toronto artist Frances Gage was installed in 1975, replacing a sculpted figure by Florence Wyle. I’d like to see the original figure, but haven’t found a photo yet.

Idle curiosity brings out amusing fact

IMG_0762.JPGPhoto credit: Chimay Bleue
The preliminary hype for Toronto’s upcoming PanAm Games set Danica and me wondering, “What other international games have been hosted in our city?” We figured that the olympic-size pool at the foot of Woodbine must have been built for some big event, but we know that the Olympics were never held here.
Turns out, it’s not so easy finding out much about the Donald D. Summerville Outdoor Pool. Architect: Unknown. Built in? 1963? Oh well, those grey little facts are trivial compared with the best one. Apparently the “olympic-size” pool is a a tad smaller than it is supposed to be, due to a mistake in the conversion of measurements to metric. I presume this means it could never be used for real competition. Continue reading

Big favour brings big, big bouquet

Our friend Sue has a fine sense of proportion. As a thank-you to Danica (whose offline identity is “Donna”), she arranged for a ginormous arrangement of gorgeous flowers to be delivered today.
Yes, the favour was a big one, but when a friend is in need, “Donna” is a friend indeed. She helped with an emergency move of an apartment full of stranded possessions by renting a cargo van and driving them from Toronto to Kingston.
Amusingly, the card that came with the bouquet names the sender as “to” … apparently a mis-hearing of “Sue” when the message was taken down. No worries, we know it was you, Sue, and you really know how to say “thanks” in a big way!

Germany? Indonesia? Ukraine? Really?

I’ve been busy for a couple of days, doing a one-time revamp of the local community association website. It was an opportunity to learn how Blogger software works (not bad) and it gave me a peek at the visitor stats that ever-vigilant Google likes to collect.
Today’s visitor count was large because the new site was just announced and, as you’d expect, all local traffic from Canada. The others must have been automated netbots … or we have generated some surprising interest!

TTC remains calendar-challenged

News arrives that the Toronto Transit Commission will be “moving into the 21st century” by accepting debit and credit cards instead of cash-only for token and ticket purchases. Yes, still tickets and tokens.
Somebody tell them that credit and debit cards were a 20th century thing.
Well into the second decade of the 21st century, tentative efforts to improve our pathetic transit system are at least underway. I am not optimistic about the city’s will or ability to really get it right, but there’s always hope.

Bosch efficiency

The story begins with a compliment. Danica is a genius at storing and retrieving user manuals. When the lamp in the Bosch oven hood died, she was able to look up the part number easily.
Not so easy to find the E14 40 watt replacement bulb, though. The official price of the official Bosch lamp? Over $50! For a single bulb! The Bosch parts supply agent thought there might be an error, but kindly phoned back to confirm. Oh, and there would be a $9 delivery charge.
Not one to knuckle under to techno-terrorist ransom demands, Danica found online alternatives. A bit over $30 for 4 lamps from the UK … but there might be duty. Same from the US, but they don’t ship to Canada.
So … how about taking the old bulb to a local lighting store and asking about a substitute? Turns out, the Bosch manual was wrong. It’s an E12, not an E14 at all. Replacement bulb? It was on sale, so Danica scored it for $1.49 rather than the $1.99 regular price. The 50 buck bulb would not have fit, even if we had believed the manual.